It may be one of the worst technology buzzwords of all-time, but the Internet of Things(IoT) is on the cusp of changing all business sectors, including the retail industry. IoT is the catch-all term used to describe machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity, where sensors and hardware devices communicate with each other on their condition and whereabouts.
To drive transformation and new opportunities in the areas of customer experience, supply chain, and new revenue streams for all these the IoT revolution offers the retail industry. New age retailers are experimenting with ways to use connected devices to offer new services, redefine customer experiences and explore new markets by creating smart and connected ecosystems.
Some Statistics About IoT
70% of retail decision makers globally are ready to adopt the Internet of Things to improve customer experiences
By 2021, nearly 79% of retailers will be able to customize the store visit for customers as a majority of them will know when a specific customer is in the store
79% of retailers in North America plan to invest in automated inventory verification such as automated inventory verification and sensors on shelves.
IoT impacts on retail
Technologies for business agility
Consumer and market data analysis
Online and social technologies
Vending machines and intelligent kiosks
How IoT will redefine the Retail Industry
Personalization And Localization
When it comes to personalization, IoT is a salient platform. "Beacon" is one of the most sophisticated technologies when it comes to personalization. It helps in channelizing highly contextual information to the shopper at the right time. With increasing adoption rates, retailers are taking beacon technology very seriously.
Beacons are very small devices in stores to communicate with smartphones and other devices in the vicinity via Bluetooth and another wireless tech. Beacon-based marketing solely focuses on meaningful interactions with shoppers and mostly interfaces with store visitors.
Supply Chain Management
Retailer supply chains are complex and require greater monitoring and control than ever. It is not about having visibility into inventory while receiving the stock at the store. Instead, it is more profound, providing the ability to track and monitor the product movement’s right from the point of manufacturing. It is simply not about tracking where the inventory is, rather trace the inventory throughout the supply chain.
Retailers need to explore IoT technologies such as RFID to track products across the supply chain. This level of IoT investment focuses on transportation and warehousing assets for a holistic picture of the retail supply chain.
Streamline Store Operations
IoT-enabled sensors and devices can play an instrumental role in helping retailers to not only automate operations within the stores but also enhance the efficiency of store employees by providing critical information to serve valuable customers.
Connecting Consumers’ Devices
Whether it is NFC, beacons, QR codes or AR, IoT helps connect users, store and smart devices for a consistent user experience. These connected devices can create an engaging in-store experience. The need to reach out to consumers using the easiest channel to use while shopping in stores – their phones – has not lessened yet.
In fact, it’s probably become even more important to reach consumers in stores and to figure out how to extend that reach onto consumers’ phones. Customers extensively use their smartphones while shopping as in-store shopping assistants, creating an omnichannel experience which is essential to the success of retailer.
Enhancing Retail Ecosystem
Several home improvement, general merchandise, and retailers dealing in electronics are narrowing done on home automation or smart home sections in their store. IoT is equally in demand for both enterprises and general consumer as well.
Retailers are embracing this technology to be a part of this ecosystem and offer enhanced after sales service support and sales support created by IoT sensors in consumers’ homes. For instance, Amazon is currently working on the order method of choice with Alexa.
Complex real estate ecosystem, increasing competitiveness, rapidly changing user needs is driving the increase of IoT in the retail space. Retailers need to be overcome IT challenges and keep the privacy of consumers to capitalize on opportunities. In such cases, it is important to partner with a leading IoT solutions provider company.
IoT can offer retailers to improve store experience, minimize operating costs, automate manual processes and build new revenue streams. IoT sensors can help identify out-of-stock inventory on shelves, a major cause of frustration for the user. IoT technologies in retail can help provide personalized attention to shoppers which is the need of the hour.
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